A new study tries to put a bit of scientific oomph behind the thing that we all know: spending time in nature makes ya feel better.
Mr. Bratman and his colleagues first gathered 38 healthy, adult city dwellers and asked them to complete a questionnaire to determine their normal level of morbid rumination.
The researchers also checked for brain activity in each volunteer’s subgenual prefrontal cortex, using scans that track blood flow through the brain. Greater blood flow to parts of the brain usually signals more activity in those areas.
Then the scientists randomly assigned half of the volunteers to walk for 90 minutes through a leafy, quiet, parklike portion of the Stanford campus or next to a loud, hectic, multi-lane highway in Palo Alto. The volunteers were not allowed to have companions or listen to music. They were allowed to walk at their own pace.
I wonder how my morning commute via bicycle on the Schuykill River Trail affects my brain? There’s a lot of idyllic nature scenes on the west side, a highway on the east.